S&P/ASX 200 set to open lower: 6 shares to watch

The S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is expected to trade lower today following negative leads from international markets on Friday.

Here’s a recap:

  • Dow Jones (USA): down 0.1%
  • NASDAQ (USA): down 0.16%
  • FTSE 100 (UK): down 0.34%
  • DAX (Germany): down 0.42%
  • CAC 40 (France): down 0.36%

In London, shares closed lower ahead of OPEC’s Sunday meeting in Doha regarding oil output levels. FTSE-listed shares of BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) finished 0.1% and 1.3% lower, respectively.

On US markets, a similar theme played out. Markets ended lower ahead of Sunday’s oil meeting. The energy sector finished 1.2% lower, while the consumer goods sector was the best-performing.

OPEC Meeting

On Sunday, the chiefs of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC met in Doha, Qatar, and emerged without a deal to curb oil output. Many of the world’s leading oil-producing nations have grappled with plummeting prices amid market oversupply.

However, following recent lifts to sanctions on its oil trade, Iran refused to attend the meeting and it’s believed it will ramp up production until it reestablishes market share. The next OPEC meeting will not take place until June.

Australian share market

Closer to home, the Sydney Futures Exchange is tipping a 4-point, or 0.08%, fall in the S&P/ASX 200.

Obviously, shares of Australian oil producers such as Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL), Santos Ltd (ASX: STO) and Oil Search Limited (ASX: OSH) will be in focus today.

So too will shares of Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX: TLS). Last week, Telstra announced it would sell a 47.7% stake in Autohome Inc for $1.6 billion in total. On the weekend, however, a consortium led by current Autohome Inc CEO, James Zhi Qin, announced a $3.56 billion takeover of China’s top automotive listing site, equivalent to $31.50 per share. Since listing Autohome on the New York Stock Exchange, Telstra has slowly lessened its ownership of the business.

Finally, in broker news, Macquarie Group analysts lifted their ASX Ltd (ASX: ASX) price target from $40.30 to $40.90 while Morgans analysts raised WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED (ASX: WHC) shares from ‘hold’ to ‘add’ with a $0.90 price target, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

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Motley Fool Contributor Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

 The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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